Boston area native Paul Carroll moved to New York City for one reason - to become a designer. In the fall of 1999, Carroll introduced his first deluxe ready-to-wear collection.
Carroll’s collections feature cocktail and evening dresses in addition to beautifully tailored suits and sportswear. The designer prides himself on his commitment to quality workmanship, sumptuous fabrics, luxurious detail, and innovative design.
Creating a recognizable style and a language as a designer has been Carroll’s goal from the very beginning. Inspiration for the collections can come from anywhere; favorite films and books, a museum visit or even the streets.
Find out more about Carroll's life as a designer and what inspires him in this exclusive interview!
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I don’t really consider myself a leader so much as a teacher. My studio is a teaching environment; I have people come from all over the world to work with me – from Ghana to South Korea. They come to learn, and are exposed to the full gamut of the fashion industry – from the sketch to the garment construction, to retail. What’s really wonderful about this arrangement is that it’s also a cultural exchange. I teach them how to make clothes and they teach me about their culture. It’s a worthwhile exchange, and the collaboration enriches our work.
Tell us about your business and the inspiration behind it.
When I was 6 years old, I became fascinated with movie special effects. I had an 8-mm. camera and developed an interest in photography, particularly black & white photography. My interest shifted to fashion photography when I first saw “The Eyes of Laura Mars,” where Fay Dunaway plays a fashion photographer.
I started photographing my sister wearing my mom’s clothes and, when I had photographed her entire wardrobe, I began sketching the kinds of clothing I wanted to photograph. It was then that I realized I wanted to go into fashion design.
I was a big fan of Calvin Klein and I knew that he attended FIT so I applied to go there as well. I made three garments to the best of my ability for my application, and that’s where my education took off.
My own label was another goal. I started my business in 1999 after realizing that I had a point of view that I felt I needed to be shared.
Movies inspire about 90% of my work. The other 10% comes from the world around me: art, architecture, music, and science …
What have the highlights and challenges been since you started your business?
The biggest highlight of my career was my first collection in 2000. I sold to a store on Madison Avenue and it was an overwhelming success. In my career I have also had the good fortune of working with some wonderful costume designers, including Shawn Reeves for General Hospital, Guiding Light and Another World. I’ve also had the privilege of designing dresses for the Daytime Emmys, and have had successful relationships with other daytime dramas.
The biggest challenges as a small business are the financial pressures that come from maintaining the highest standards during the construction of our two collections per year.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Twice a year during collection deadlines, work consumes my life but at the end of the day, I always remember that I work to live. My husband and personal life come first.
Who would you love to see wearing your designs?
I would love to see Sigourney Weaver, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita N’Yongo, Charlize Theron, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman in my designs. They are all such beautiful and stylish women.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
Everything I haven’t done before!
|Paul Carroll S/S 2015|